Tackling My Body Issues

19 Jul

My body and I have had a love/hate relationship my entire life.  As a little girl I was super-skinny.  This was mostly because I was so, so active.  I was up with the sun (or before – if you ask my Mom), running around the yard, climbing trees, and exploring.  I participated in all sorts of sports from softball to gymnastics to my absolute favorite – horseback riding.  I remember when we moved to our house in the country how ecstatic I was to have 10 acres to run around on and horses in my own backyard.

I was home-schooled and an intelligent and efficient child, so I would get my lessons done (sometimes more than one day’s worth) in just a few hours.  The rest of the day and into the evening – when the sun began to droop and twilight set in – I was a fireball.  My brother, Dad and I started building a tree-house, which ended up being something more like a big platform in the trees.  I would visit that throughout the day and climb the neighboring trees to the very tippy-top, as far as I could go.  I would run through the woods to our back pasture, then through our second set of woods and sometimes gingerly slide between the strands of barbed-wire fence into the neighbor’s fields.

Sometimes I was alone.  Sometimes my brother or sister were with me.  More often than not it was just me and our family black lab.  The horses would sometimes engage with me curiously, but most of the time they ignored me like I was nothing more than one of the gnats flying around their ears.  I can’t even tell you now what I did with all of that time outside.  I know I picked wild blackberries, visited with our neighbors’ horses and dogs, and spent hours daydreaming or singing.

I also did acrobatics on our swing set.  We had one of those metal A-frame types that had different attachments, very similar to the one in the picture.  I used to hang upside down from the monkey-bar-type swing and walk along the top of the swing set like it was a balance beam.  I did the same thing with our acres of fence.  I had excellent balance and loved the challenge.

As an adolescent and teenager I stayed active, yet I slowly gained weight.  In high school I participated in a showchoir where we danced every single day, sometimes for an hour or more.  My body issues really kicked in around that time.  I was fairly insecure all through school because of the incessant bullying that I had to endure – for being the “new kid,” getting all A’s, having big glasses and braces, and being a geeky, awkward introvert.  Showchoir was my element, though.  I had one of the best voices, I was the dance captain, and it was a very diverse, accepting group of kids.  We had cheerleaders, the valedictorian, a few skaters, drama kids, a punk/goth girl, several of the popular, pretty girls – no kid in a wheelchair, though.  We were also more like the “Vocal Adrenaline” group on Glee than the misfit, ragtag group.  We won all sorts of competitions all across the country and were invited to an international choral experience in London.

Despite having a place to “belong” and being constantly activity, I felt fat.  My years as a catcher on my All-Stars softball team combined with years of horseback riding, dancing, and gymnastics left me with huge thighs.  They were also very powerful, but all my teenage eyes could see was their girth – muscle or fat didn’t really matter that much.  I remember being mortified of my junior size 7 jeans.  Now I would do almost anything to get back in them.  Back then I would stand with my arms crossed around my stomach, as if to camouflage what I thought of as a huge flaw.  I also was a slow grower in the “top” department, which made me feel inadequate and not pretty.  I’m now a D-cup, and wish they were smaller.

In my senior year I was dealing with a lot of drama.  Some of it was typical teenage-angst stuff, but mine also went beyond that.  I got it worse than most (though not as bad as some) because I was in a lesbian relationship in a small, conservative, ultra-religious town.  I lost my best friend after she ratted me out to my parents (who were so super-strict I couldn’t listen to anything but Christian music).  I was tortured at school, although I still was able to maintain at least a small level of plausible deniability since I was seen making out with a boy on our London chorus trip.  The concept of bisexuality was almost unheard of and certainly misunderstood in my town, which I was able to use somewhat to my advantage.

During that time my weight plummeted, in large part due to depression.  I was a size two and weighed barely over 100 pounds at that point.  I am 5’7″.  While that might sound like a reasonable (or even ideal) size to some, it was very unhealthy on me.  I was gaunt and sickly looking, and my clothes hung off of me in a very unattractive way.  My showchoir dress was taken in several sizes, which I thought was wonderful.

After graduation my weight swung in the other direction.  I was still depressed, but food was becoming more and more of a comfort.  I was also stuck at home in my parent’s house where I was miserable.  Although I had graduated high school already, I skipped 4th grade and was under 18.  My Dad was adamant that I had to live with them and under their rules until that time.  I was all but chained to my house – only allowed out to drive my brother and sister to school, attend church, and go to my job – where my parents were friends with the owner and knew my schedule.  By the time I turned 18 I probably weighed somewhere around 165.  Again, now I would love to go back there.

I moved out the day I turned 18…  Yep, the very day.  I left in the morning with a bunch of my stuff and didn’t come back until a few days later to get the rest.  Looking back now I know that I broke my Mom’s heart.  I wish I hadn’t, but at that point my Dad was making my life so miserable that I couldn’t stand to be around him for one minute longer than necessary.  Not too long after (maybe 2 months or so), I left on an amazing trip through Europe.  I visited 13 countries, and enjoyed the food in them all!

By the time I was in my 20s I was easily a size 18.  I started having to shop at Lane Bryant.  My weight was right up around 200.  I wasn’t happy with myself, but nothing I did seemed to work long-term.  I went on tons of diets and yo-yo’ed all over the place.  I would lose 20 pounds, then gain 10 or 15 back.  I tried pills, Weight Watchers, supplements, and just about every new “fad” diet that came out.  Nothing really stuck until my 7-year relationship crumbled.  Again, I spiralled into depression, and again it helped me lose weight.  I was down to a size 8-10 in just a few short months.

Fast forward a bit – I met my now-husband, settled into a comfortable relationship, and his Southern cooking quickly added on the pounds.  When we got engaged I managed to lose weight through the South Beach Diet (which my Mom uses very successfully) and Weight Watchers.  I was somewhere around 170-175 on my wedding day.  Then DDay happened.

Depression – again.  Only this time it was back to the food-as-comfort kind.  As much as Mr. Mess has always said that he loves my body and finds me very attractive, I couldn’t find it within myself to believe him.  His pornography and sex addiction coupled with his previous affair left me feeling worthless as a woman.  As a test showed in my post How Does His Sex Addiction Affect Me, my past experiences and his sex addiction still make me feel inferior and insecure.

Even after things got more stable at home the weight didn’t drop off.   My husband started culinary school and practiced all of his French, creme-based sauces and recipes at home.  He enjoys cooking for me and showing his love through acts of service (which is great since this is my secondary love language).  I also LOVE food, especially great food.  I was more than happy to drown my sorrows and accept his love offerings of creamy, buttery, fatty, smothered in cheese and deep fried creations.  The problem?  That just reinforced my self-esteem and body issues.  I can see now that I also allowed my need for control in other areas of my life (areas that I really have NO control over) to serve as a distraction and even excuse for my weight issues.

Not anymore.  I am taking control of my weight.  I am tackling my body issues – by becoming healthier and affirming myself every day.  I started a new diet two days ago.  This time it is with the help of a nutritionist and program.  I am going to learn more about my body, what works well, and how to eat right without sacrificing everything all of the time.

For now, though, I am in the hard part.  I have started a shake and juice cleanse using Isagenix products.  It has been brutal.  Yesterday and the day before I got one “real” meal, two barely tolerable shakes, and a few snacks.  The first day a Granny Smith Apple like the one above tasted like the most amazing thing I had ever put in my mouth and was the highlight of my day.  Today and tomorrow I am on a juice-only cleanse.  As of this morning I have already lost almost 7 pounds (6.9 to be exact).

I will be following that 11-day cleanse with a 40-day HCG diet program.  I am not getting my HCG online or through a company I know nothing about.  Instead, I will have a local support person who I will be working with twice per week to get any questions that I may have answered.  She is affiliated with a good doctor.  My husband and I have already looked up a lot of really tasty-sounding, low-calorie meals.  He will now be testing his ability to plan nutritious and appetizing meals that keep us foodies satisfied.

It will be hard.  But it should be rewarding.  They are guaranteeing that I will lose 20 pounds, and probably more like 30.  We shall see.  Either way, I’m taking the reigns of my weight.  I’m vowing to love my body and take care of myself.  I am getting healthy so that I can feel good – inside and out.  Already it’s been a step in the right direction.

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14 Responses to “Tackling My Body Issues”

  1. Lee Kaplanian August 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    I so identify with you and your story. Mine is a bit different because I have been overweight all my life – two slender sisters and being the middle child didn’t help. I once lost 30 pounds and it was so cool, but it came back. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at 23 and that slowed things down a lot – me as well as the metabolism. Then I was on a big dose of Prednisone and gained 35 pounds in 2 months – still haven’t lost that yet. At the time I thought “I don’t mind being fat if I can more comfortably”. News Flash: it bugged the heck out of me to feel fat. So I hover around 200 or a bit less. I am a Rebenesque, fluffy or substantial woman – built for comfort, not for speed. I am also working on understanding that my body is the shape it is for my purpose here – still working what the purpose is. I also have decided my body needs to be this size to hold my magnificence. I am learning to love, accept, approve and trust myself – when I don’t, I give my power away. I am taking back my power and stepping into it. Good on you and all the others for doing the same!!!

  2. Ben July 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your story, and congrats for taking control of your eating habits and figuring out what works for you. I know very well what a struggle that can be, and find inspiration in your positive attitude! I’ve got a program I’ve been researching and getting things together to try out myself, and hope to launch it within the week or so.

    • beautifulmess7 July 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      I really hope it works well for you. I am feeling very motivated.

  3. huperecho: to rise above July 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    I deal with this issue too.The sad thing is in 2008 I lost over a hundred pounds got down to 120 and felt and looked better then I did in years. I actually felt my best at 130 but my husband still didn’t want me. It really hurt. His ED had kicked in and he just had no desire. I think he tried once and then never again. But when “the black widow” came along his first time with her he didn’t use pills. I have to say tho when he told me he had to use the pills the other times that brought me a little pleasure lol. I’ve been reading a book called mastering Leptin and have yet to apply it. Well I’m trying today. Does that count? Anyway for four years dealing with rejection and then three years dealing with my anxiety with my suspicion with Tina and with the other one following him around, I just gave back into emotional eating. I hate that I haven’t been able to overcome that. I have found tho that with all of this crap, I find myself eating less and less then I used to but there are times I want to stuff and have to ask myself are you really hungry or just wanting to stuff your pain. Like right now as I write this I want to eat but I know I just ate and my goal is to wait til 3. Congrats on making the choice to do something good for you and your body. Wishing you great success!!!

    • beautifulmess7 July 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

      Trying always counts! You can do it!

      I know exactly what you mean about the emotional eating. I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that from your husband. Mine also rejected me sexually more often than not. He tried Viagra, but even that didn’t really help. Which is why I told him then that I think it’s a psychological problem, not a physical one. Turns out it was his crazy porn habit! But I digress.

      Emotional eating is very difficult to overcome, especially when you are dealing with a very stressful time. I just realized that I was letting all sorts of distractions get in the way from really taking care of ME. I was so worried about his problems, his acting out, and trying to control things that I CAN’T control – that I ignored something that IS under my control – the way I eat.

      Figuring out your body’s signals is a great place to start. I had to ask myself that a lot, too… Why am I hungry right now? Is it really hunger or do I just want to eat something (I discovered there is a vast difference). I appreciate your insight and that little reminder.

  4. NZ Cate July 20, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Good luck with it. I hope it works out the way you want, and in a way you can be happy with your body. I admire you for being so honest with all this. It’s a hard one to put out there, but I know that letting the ‘secret’ out helps us to fight it.

    • beautifulmess7 July 20, 2012 at 8:15 am #

      That is so absolutely true. Keeping it secret let’s me be okay with failing. Because if I don’t do well then I won’t disappoint anyone. Talking about it is freeing. I am not the only person dealing with this type of issue. So why should I feel embarrassed or hide it? I’m making a positive choice, and I want to celebrate it.

      • NZ Cate July 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

        I like that. Maybe we feel embarassed and afraid because we fear how people will judge us. And I know for me I fear that they will be looking at my body thinking “well she could do with losing a few more pounds”. Really it doesn’t matter what they think but we are conditioned into thinking it does. Well it’s the case for me anyway. You go ahead and celebrate. I think it’s awesome. 🙂

  5. emotional tornado July 19, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    I hope you get the results you want from this. I’ve been the tall thin girl who gained a lot of weight with having my first child, losing most of it then getting pregnant again. Never really lost it that time. When Dday came a long I lost 40 lbs in 3 months. I looked bad then. It took 3 yrs to gain it back but then food became my comfort when I was always alone. Some days food was my closest thing to happiness and then I hated myself for eating. Now I need to drop 20 lbs or so and I just can’t find the motivation to do anything about it. I know I need to but I just can’t yet. It’s got to get better sometime soon. This funk is getting old. Maybe when I see how well you do maybe I’ll get more motivated 🙂 ?

    • beautifulmess7 July 20, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes I think that my relationship with food is similar to my husband’s relationship with porn. It is NOT the same, and I know that. The pattern is similar, though. I have used food to cope and make me feel better, then immediately felt regret and hate for my body, then promised myself I would eat healthy until the next time I picked up a donut or ate a big hamburger, promising myself that is the “last indulgence,” then cycling all over again. I want that to stop. I want to feel in control of what I eat and how my body looks and feels.

  6. Samantha Baker July 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    You’re an amazing woman. I too struggle with my body image for so many reasons and I scored the same as you on the scale. Not shocking. I’m trying to figure out A. if I can learn to accept what I see as my flaws (scars mainly) and B. if I have my breast fixed would that help at all or would I regret it. I’m ok with my weight, I know having five children and my ulcer surgery that I’ll never have that flat stomach. But I’m so very self concious of everything that I percieve as physical flaws.

    And I absolutely understand the school thing and having those years of ridicule follow you. Oh do I.

    I’ll tell you the mantra a friend told me last year. You are valuable, you are worthy, you are lovable, you are ENOUGH. I try to remind myself of this often.

    • beautifulmess7 July 20, 2012 at 8:17 am #

      I saw that we scored the same on the body images issue. Point A – trying to accept your flaws is a really great first step. It is soemthing I’m still working on every day.

  7. A Dog With Fleas July 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Good for you and good luck on your new and healthier lifestyle!! Being able to take control of this will help you immensely and I know you will have great success!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Do You Have an Addictive Personality? « Being a Beautiful Mess - September 4, 2012

    […] T.  I was alienated socially from a pretty early age.  As you have read in some of my past posts (Tackling My Body Issues and Pink), I was home-schooled until middle school.  I had a pretty difficult transition, and […]

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